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  1. #1
    Quester JonWes's Avatar
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    Toy Line Disasters

    So, while at TRU today, I noticed the MIB3 figures are already on clearance! I know these things aren't always national with these chains, but I could hardly believe it. These figures have been out for less than a month here. I know the movie didn't seem to have much heat, but I was shocked at how fast they went from being released to being on clearance. I wonder if it's some kind of record. Poor Jakks Pacific.

    So, it got me thinking... what are the biggest toy line disasters in your opinion?

  2. #2
    Super Powered Mod! markatisu's Avatar
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    Thundercats 2011-2012 is currently the biggest disaster I have ever witnessed

    The others are all movie based (see below my thoughts)

    2. Dragonball Z the Movie
    3. Tron Legacy
    4. Avatar the movie by Mattel

    I don't really consider movie toys as true disasters, they are budgeted to fail and most only ever sell on clearance. I was actually amazed MIB3 got a toy line approved, the 2nd movie just about killed the franchise and it has been dormant for years.
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  3. #3
    Quester JonWes's Avatar
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    I'd agree on #2 for sure.

    Not sure about #3 and #4 though, though this is just from the viewpoint of an observer. For both of those, we got quite a few waves with a fairly representative mix of characters. With the case of Avatar, it seemed like it sold through okay and stock didn't linger much after it went on clearance. It's not like MIB3 where the stock seems virtually untouched. Now, I guess you could argue one of the biggest movies of all time box-office-wise should have had a more successful toy line and it was cut short.

    I guess Tron Legacy did turn out pretty badly. There did seem to be a TON Of stock that ended up in discount stores. If I were to nominate two bigger failures in recent years from movie toy lines I'd go with:

    1. Star Trek
    2. Terminator Salvation

    Playmates had a one-two punch in the same summer of toy lines that went nowhere. There are STILL Star Trek toys at my TRU. They have virtually given them away for free and no dice. As a former die hard Trekker I was very sad to see that.

    But you're right, movie toys are almost too easy of a mark. If I were to pick some non-movie toy line disasters they'd be:

    1. Thundercats (really only because of the expectations and the inflated accounts of early sales.)
    2. Secret Saturdays (Poor Mattel.)
    3. Generator Rex (Poor, Poor Mattel.)
    4. Redikai (not sure about the spelling, but these seem to have come and gone in a second.)

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  4. #4
    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    I'm collecting some 200x stuff right now, but two of the lines you pointed are lines that I am collecting right now LOL.

    I think TRON Legacy was a mixture of too many darth vader looking guys and a series of screw-ups by Spin Master. You've got Quorra helmeted only, no figure for Gem, Castor cancelled, Kevin Flynn hard to get for who knows what reason, Deluxe Sam Flynn that looks more like CLU, etc. They did not even make the 2 figures that the kid has in his hand at the beginning of the movie

    I think TCATS is a situation where collectors didn't buy Bandai as a legit company for making an "adult collector's" line. Lack of sales and interest forced Bandai to keep downsizing the figure scale.
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  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior
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    In the 90's Capital Critters- brilliant idea doing the toys out of the foam material, bad idea being no kids watched it and the line went on clearance nationwide within a week of it going on sale.

  6. #6
    Super Powered Mod! markatisu's Avatar
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    Poor Mattel, Poor Poor Mattel...LOL @ JonWes are we seeing a theme

    I put Avatar up there because I still see Avatar toys on clearance around here, and for a film that broke every record in the book and played for months to fail that badly should never happen

    I don't count Terminator Salvation because that movie should have never had a toyline, it was aimed at Adults in both nature and story but yet they put Kids toys out?!?! Even the best Terminator movie (T2) was not a kids movie

    So Playmates just lucked out I guess with licenses, Star Trek should have done better but it just did not resonate I guess
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    Monster High Crazy Detective Lubic's Avatar
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    Green Lantern and Young Justice another Mattel mess up and I dont have a whole lot of hope for the Dark Knight Rises stuff..but as someone just said Movie Lines rarely sell well. Maybe Mattel should just stick to Dolls and Hot wheels.. Besides MOTUC and DC Universe.. The "Boy" Toy lines dont sell well in recent times.
    Last edited by Detective Lubic; June 21, 2012 at 12:12am.

  8. #8
    Realist. Deal with it. Lord Anubis's Avatar
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    The tron stuff always sold out near me. Those were really great toys too, its just a shame they didnt expand that line. They did a nice job with making the toys different and stand out.

    Green Lantern, Iron Man 2 are the worst culprits. Stores will be eating that stuff for years. I do kinda feel the Dark Knight Rises 4 inch line will go that way. All of them look like bootlegs. The last 4 inch line of Dark Knight actually looked good for little articulation, these are REALLY bad.
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    Heroic Warrior ShowerPowerFrosta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    I think TRON Legacy was a mixture of too many darth vader looking guys and a series of screw-ups by Spin Master. You've got Quorra helmeted only, no figure for Gem, Castor cancelled, Kevin Flynn hard to get for who knows what reason, Deluxe Sam Flynn that looks more like CLU, etc. They did not even make the 2 figures that the kid has in his hand at the beginning of the movie
    The figures were all too similar with the helmeted heads. Unhelmeted Quorra, Gem, and Zeus would have been really cool. The vehicles actually sold out pretty quickly around here. I had a hard time finding the white lightcycle for a while. Though now I see them quite often in other places.

    And I agree about the Terminator Salvation toys. Why were they even made?

  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior Sky Breaker's Avatar
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    Has there ever been a highly successful movie toy line? The hype tends to fizzle out a few months after the movie has been released as there is nothing to drive sales and keep the characters fresh and alive in the minds of children.

    With kids moving away from plastic action figures and becoming digital, I can't imagine any future toy line based on a movie doing well.

    Remember Green Lantern? It was being blown out for $5 on Blu-Ray last boxing day, only weeks after its release. Just because its new, doesn't meant its good.

  11. #11
    Quester JonWes's Avatar
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    Well, Star Wars.

    I know people don't think so because of the peg warmers, but actually I think Iron Man 2 was a very successful toy line. They seemed to have shifted a TON of stock even though there is a lot left. What is left is just the result of bad case ratios. I think Thor and Captain America were sort of middling. But Avengers seems to be doing very well. I think retailers ordered fairly conservatively because of leftover IM and Thor stock, but they still ordered. And around here anyway no one can keep anything in stock except some of the comics figures like Ultimate Thor and Hawkeye.

    And, of course, there was a time when many more of them were successful, back when action figures in general did better.

  12. #12
    Super Powered Mod! markatisu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Breaker View Post
    Has there ever been a highly successful movie toy line? The hype tends to fizzle out a few months after the movie has been released as there is nothing to drive sales and keep the characters fresh and alive in the minds of children.

    With kids moving away from plastic action figures and becoming digital, I can't imagine any future toy line based on a movie doing well.

    Remember Green Lantern? It was being blown out for $5 on Blu-Ray last boxing day, only weeks after its release. Just because its new, doesn't meant its good.
    Here are some recent movie lines that did great business

    Star Wars Prequels, Iron Man 2, the Avengers 6" Movie Line, TMNT (2007), Transformers (2007)
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    Heroic Warrior VictoryLiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Breaker View Post
    Has there ever been a highly successful movie toy line?
    Star Wars is the only one that comes to mind.

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    Heroic Master of 200X MegaGearMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Breaker View Post
    Has there ever been a highly successful movie toy line? The hype tends to fizzle out a few months after the movie has been released as there is nothing to drive sales and keep the characters fresh and alive in the minds of children.
    Movie toylines do well all the time. Don't be fooled by the pegwarmers. Hasbro movie toylines tend to do well (except Rise of COBRA). Mattel movie lines tend to fail except for Batman.

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    plastic vice Phil.Pastel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShowerPowerFrosta View Post
    The figures were all too similar with the helmeted heads. Unhelmeted Quorra, Gem, and Zeus would have been really cool. The vehicles actually sold out pretty quickly around here. I had a hard time finding the white lightcycle for a while. Though now I see them quite often in other places.

    And I agree about the Terminator Salvation toys. Why were they even made?

    I think part of it was the timing of the movie's release. They put the movie out a few days before Christmas. By that time, many parents had probably finished their holiday shopping. I know I was too busy to get to the theater. I didn't see the movie until about 6 months later. Since I hadn't seen the movie, you can imagine I wasn't pumped up to buy figures.

    I do seem to recall high retail prices on the deluxe figures, apparently, just because they had the projection technology that nobody really likes anyway.
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    Heroic Warrior ShowerPowerFrosta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil.Pastel View Post
    I think part of it was the timing of the movie's release. They put the movie out a few days before Christmas. By that time, many parents had probably finished their holiday shopping. I know I was too busy to get to the theater. I didn't see the movie until about 6 months later. Since I hadn't seen the movie, you can imagine I wasn't pumped up to buy figures.

    I do seem to recall high retail prices on the deluxe figures, apparently, just because they had the projection technology that nobody really likes anyway.
    The deluxe figures were overpriced, and I don't think the half hearted projection technology would have held much interest for kids. I know it didn't with my collector friends.

    I didn't remember when the movie and the toys came out, but that's a good point about coming out so close to Christmas.

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    With $677 milliion in annual revenues in 2011, I don't think anyone should lose sleep worrying about "poor JAKK's Pacific." While it's true that figure is down from the $903 million in annual revenues they're racked up in 2008, it's a reflection of the 'economic downturn' and they're still averaging a pretty healthy more than $700 million a year for the past five years. I've a hunch with having generated more than $3 billion in revenues over a five-year period that they probably have a pretty substantial cash reserve tucked away in a mattress to see them through this 'difficult' year.

    Aside from them having the good sense -- -- to carrying toys, product and merchandise from many shows I created and wrote, their staff is overwhelming comprised of about the nicest executives I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonWes View Post
    So, while at TRU today, I noticed the MIB3 figures are already on clearance! I know these things aren't always national with these chains, but I could hardly believe it. These figures have been out for less than a month here. I know the movie didn't seem to have much heat, but I was shocked at how fast they went from being released to being on clearance. I wonder if it's some kind of record. Poor Jakks Pacific.

    So, it got me thinking... what are the biggest toy line disasters in your opinion?
    Last edited by Heeeere's Olesker!; December 1, 2012 at 05:42pm.

  18. #18
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    Green Lantern movie figures and DCUC Cyclotron.
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    The Gunny PlatinumFist's Avatar
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    The **** Tracy movie line figures by Playmates were pretty bad!
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    Heroic Master of Puzzles Thatman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatinumFist View Post
    The **** Tracy movie line figures by Playmates were pretty bad!
    How do you figure? They weren't badly/cheaply made, had individual sculpts (though there was accessory reuse, it made sense), were well painted on individual cards with bios & comic, etc. That the line was short-lived was less a testament to the quality of the toy line and more of a reflection on the short-term marketability/shelf viability of the movie.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatman View Post
    How do you figure? They weren't badly/cheaply made, had individual sculpts (though there was accessory reuse, it made sense), were well painted on individual cards with bios & comic, etc. That the line was short-lived was less a testament to the quality of the toy line and more of a reflection on the short-term marketability/shelf viability of the movie.
    'Playmates' ruled the 1990s' toy market. Great blend of playability and quality sculpting. Krom only knows what happened with their JJ ABrams' 'Trek' line! Awful, insipid figures.

  22. #22
    Heroic Master of 200X MegaGearMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gragar View Post
    'Playmates' ruled the 1990s' toy market. Great blend of playability and quality sculpting. Krom only knows what happened with their JJ ABrams' 'Trek' line! Awful, insipid figures.
    Star Trek AND Terminator: Salvation flopped hard in the toy aisles. While the new Nick TMNT stuff was in development, it almost looked like Playmates was going to fold up.

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    Heroic Warrior Dr Kain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatman View Post
    How do you figure?
    Tracy did not have his yellow coat.
    Can someone PM me the US number for Matty? I want to talk to someone who might has a clue of what is going on.

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  24. #24
    Old Man Jack Rhanen's Avatar
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    Kenner's "The Shadow" movie action figures. I actually liked some of the characters and I still have my basic Shadow figure and I hope someday get the Taxi Cab, but the line was a disaster just because it only have 1 marketable figure and enemies were quite lame.

    I suppose it's pretty much the same for most movie action figures, such as ID4, Armaggedon, Tomb Raider movie & The Mummy to name a few.
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  25. #25
    Angast's #1 fan Bonehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orko's Magic Hat;3167815

    Is it me or is the Avenger's [I
    toylines [/I]clogging pegs as well - or are they always re-stocking?
    They're being restocked. Trust me.

    Hasbro has plans to release Avengers Movie figures all next year long along with the sub lines like Iron Man 3. We should see a few new waves at TF '13.


    Quote Originally Posted by Galmorzu View Post
    I stopped by a local TRU which was FINALLY restocking after seemingly taken ALL TF figures from their shelves (one peg of figures was all they had at one point). They had filled the spaces in that part of the shelf with Dark of the Moon, and I kid you not, LEFTOVER REVENGE OF THE FALLEN PRODUCT!
    TRU actually got a bunch of ROTF product in from Hasbro right before TF3 hit. Hasbro had a ton of product still from the last movie that they never sold so TRU bought most of it up at a discount. Some stores had a promotion where if you bought over $50 of TF3 stuff you got a free ROTF figure. Hasbro just over produced a few of the waves. Overall the line was very successful.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Kain View Post
    Honestly, I think nearly every TF that came out after Animated's cancellation has been crap. Jazz, Tracks, Kup, Wreck-Gar, and maybe Wheeljack are the only ones that haven't sucked.
    You forgot Scourge, Cyclonus, Lugnut, Perceptor, Blurr, Mindwipe, Onslaught...a few more.

    The best TFs out nowadays are all 3rd Party figures.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlatinumFist View Post
    The **** Tracy movie line figures by Playmates were pretty bad!
    What!?

    That line was actually really good.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rhanen View Post
    Kenner's "The Shadow" movie action figures. I actually liked some of the characters and I still have my basic Shadow figure and I hope someday get the Taxi Cab, but the line was a disaster just because it only have 1 marketable figure and enemies were quite lame.
    I still have those Shadow figures. They are actually pretty cool. The highlights in the line are the vehicles. I always thought Kenner should have reused that Taxi Cab for the BTAS line.

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